Crews reporting progress in landfill fire's 13th day - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Crews reporting progress in landfill fire's 13th day

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Putting out a seven and a half acre tire fire that is the Iowa City landfill blaze has come with its share of curve balls.

"When you have instances like this, there's always things that are going to come up.  You try to stay ahead of those but every once in a while you get caught off guard,'' said Geoff Fruin, assistant to the Iowa City city manager.

Thursday, in the fire's 13th day, the change of pace came due to weather.

The winds and temperatures kept the smoke plume low and postponed firefighting efforts until late morning.

Later the wind direction forced the landfill's closure, diverting commercial haulers north to Linn County.

Challenges aside, significant progress is being made since implementing a new strategy Monday.

Crews are using heavy machinery to stir the burning material, effectively expediting the burn, and then covering it with clay.

"We're about 30 to 40 percent covered right now at that site," Fruin said Thursday. 

City officials believe the general public will no longer notice the smoke by next week,  but there's still plenty of work to do before the rebuilding can begin.

"From the public nuisance of the smoke, yes the end's in sight, but certainly we have a long process ahead.  We expect the fire is going to continue to burn underneath the soil we're putting over probably for another couple of weeks," Fruin said.

City officials are estimating the overall cost of extinguishing the fire and rebuilding the landfill cell to be between $4-6 million.

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